Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday were forced out of the front passenger side door. Betty Lou Jensen exited first, followed by David Faraday. The widely believed order of events, is that as David Faraday left the vehicle he was ushered somewhere close to the rear wheel of the Rambler and shot in the left side of his head. Then Betty Lou Jensen, either ordered by the Zodiac Killer to run, or through sheer terror fled westwards, before being struck down by 5 bullets to the right side of her back, finally falling backwards and expiring 28 feet to the rear of the Rambler.
If this sequence of events is correct then James Owen's version of events is wrong. If James Owen passed the turnout and saw nobody in and around the vehicles, then it is probable that the Zodiac Killer had heard or seen the headlights of James Owen's approaching car, subsequently forcing the couple out of sight, possibly between or behind one of the vehicles. Had the Zodiac Killer not done this, James Owen would have seen the couple in their Rambler.
Logic tells you that if the Zodiac Killer had seen or heard James Owen's car approaching, he would not have fired off warning shots to force the couple from the car, because James Owen would have heard the gunshots, as he supposedly did one quarter of a mile past the turnout. If James Owen had heard a single gunshot one quarter of a mile past the turnout, he most certainly would have heard 2 or 3 warning gunshots as he was approaching it, which he didn't.
The warning shots into the Rambler had to be out of audible range to James Owen as he approached the turnout. This meant the Zodiac didn't kill the couple immediately, as James Owen would have seen the stricken couple lying on the turnout. The fact James Owen spotted nobody in the turnout, indicated the Zodiac may have had dialogue with the couple for a period of time after he forced the couple out of the Rambler, then saw Owen's car in the distance, and was forced to hide the couple behind the vehicles and out of view.
Had the gunshot heard by James Owen after the turnout been the first shot that night to David Faraday's head, then there was a delay before he shot Betty Lou Jensen, making these shots beyond the audible range, it would have negated the purpose of any warning shots into the Rambler subsequently, as both David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen would have already exited the vehicle and been murdered. The following is for consideration:
The time is around 11.12 pm, James Owen is one mile and two minutes from the turnout, he is out of earshot, and the Zodiac Killer has just forced David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen from the Rambler by firing at the vehicle. The next two minutes are unknown, but Zodiac has not yet begun his deadly attack. There may have been some form of dialogue between the subjects similar to the Lake Berryessa attack. The Zodiac Killer spots headlights in the distance and the sound of James Owen's car approaching the turnout. He forces the couple out of view and James Owen passes by. However the mood of the conversation between the subjects has convinced David Faraday the situation is about to turn deadly, so as they rise back to their feet he makes his move, either striking out at his assailant or reaching for the gun and a scuffle ensues. After 20-30 seconds the Zodiac Killer has positioned the gun at David Faraday's head, discharges the fatal shot and David Faraday falls to the floor 90 degrees from the Rambler, with his feet nearly touching the right rear tire of the vehicle. His class ring dislodged from his finger in the struggle. James Owen is now 30 seconds past the turnout and hears this shot. It is inconceivable that the Zodiac Killer would have wanted to fire off this shot voluntarily just 30 seconds after James Owen had passed the turnout, still within earshot, however events never went to plan. The Zodiac Killer turned to Betty Lou Jensen and a short dialogue ensued. In all likelihood she may have pleaded for her life or been frozen in fear, but as we know the Zodiac Killer was devoid of mercy, forcing the helpless Betty Lou Jensen to run for her life, and we know the rest. This delay of approximately 30 seconds or more, meant James Owen is now at least half a mile away, and with the radio on low failed to hear the final five shots.
Robert Graysmith stated that the Zodiac Killer chased Betty Lou Jensen across the turnout, shooting as he went. This is not what happened, as the expended shell casings would have been found along the path between the rear of the Rambler and where she eventually fell and as you can see from the diagram there are none. It was also stated that the Zodiac Killer rounded the Rambler to the left side and fired into the left rear tire, however no shell casings were ever found to the left of the Rambler. It is often thought in crime scenes regarding a right handed person, that shell casings would be ejected to the right and rear of the shooter, but it is not that simple, dependent on the killer's hand position and movements.
This is an extract from Force Science News that shows this is not always the case, depending on a number of factors.
"Depending on those variables, extracted casings can end up virtually anywhere at a shooting scene," explains Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the nonprofit FSRC. "Their final location alone will confirm virtually nothing about a shooter's firing position unless you know how he was holding his gun and how he was moving at the time of discharge. By changing those characteristics, you can place shells all over the place."
But what we do know, is that the Zodiac Killer must have had a similar hand position when he lined up to shoot Betty Lou Jensen five times in the back, with the shell casings falling between the two vehicles. Had he kept his aim true and steady, then the wounds on Betty Lou Jensen's back make perfect sense from a ballistics standpoint. There was one grain of gunpowder found by the uppermost hole of her dress, suggesting this was the first shot. The remaining shots descended her back as she ran for her life. This, along with the positioning of the bullet casings makes it fairly evident the Zodiac Killer was not chasing after Betty Lou Jensen across the turnout in a westerly direction.
There was one stray casing found 20 feet south of David Faraday's head. It would have been beyond the unknown car on the passenger side, seemingly an unusual place for a shell casing to have been found. It is not inconceivable that the Zodiac Killer fired the first shot into the Rambler that night the instant he opened his door. The expended casing ejecting to his rear, striking the top of his vehicle and coming to rest a few feet from his passenger side.
James Owen gave us two distances between the Rambler and unknown car, firstly he said 10 feet on the 21st December 1968, then changed it to 3-4 feet in his statement on December 24th 1968. Had the distance been 3-4 feet, we would have to assume that as David Faraday fell after being shot, he would have collided with the Zodiac's car. An average size person of 5'8"-5'10" could not lie 90 degrees to the Rambler, with their feet virtually touching the right rear tire of the vehicle, without lying under the adjacent car parked only 3-4 feet away. James Owen seemed unsure of the distance between the vehicles. He also stated that he "thought he heard a shot". If he was wrong on both accounts then the whole story changes once again.